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Heather Corinna replies:
I have a boyfriend, and we're kind of close. We were friends for a long time before actually becoming a couple. I need to know how to go in to kiss him, and how to make it so I'm not nervous, he really likes talking to me and I know we're boyfriend and girlfriend. But he never goes in to kiss me, and I want to be kissed. How do I get him to come in and kiss me? If he doesn't kiss me does that mean he's gay?
If he's kissing guys but not you, that might be a sound reason to think about his sexual orientation. But that doesn't appear to be the case. Our sexual orientation isn't based on who we do not feel emotional or sexual attraction to, but to who we do have those feelings for. Of course, if we're not attracted to a certain group of people, we probably don't want to be kissing them, but to leap to that as the most likely reason he isn't giving you the smoochies is really hasty. It might also be hasty to leap to the idea that he isn't interested in you, or doesn't find you attractive.
Some folks are just more shy than others, or more reticent to initiate kissing or any other kind of affectionate or sexual activity than others. Just like women, men can be shy or nervous: the idea that men should always take the first step, an idea a lot of people still share, has some big flaws.
Back in the dark ages (and I wish I were talking about the actual dark ages rather than 50 years ago or less, but it was really that recent), when male-dominant culture defined "real" womanhood and femininity as passive, there were a lot of cultural norms that developed which put men in the position of always having to initiate, and women in the position of always having to wait around until they did if it was something they wanted, or decline if it was something they didn't. That was something that wasn't -- and still isn't -- fair to women or men. It also was one thing that kept women in the role of what we call "sexual policing." In other words, while women were not encouraged to be active participants in initiating or making clear when they wanted something physical, men were, at the same time, women were (and often still are) held responsible for putting the breaks on when things went "too far," or were not what they wanted. You can probably see how that not only enables some of the problems we have in our world with sexual violence, but how it also doesn't enable sexual relationships where both partners share responsibility and share a real voice in all aspects of desire and their sex lives. You might also be able to see that it created situations in which only men ever had to risk a certain kind of sexual rejection; where only men had to hear "No," in regard to any kind of sex, and only women were responsible for saying it.
We're still dealing with some of the moldy leftovers of those ideas, but many, many of us have moved past them at this point and recognize how flawed they are and how much they keep us from having opposite-sex sexual or romantic relationships of real quality, balance and joy. I'm hoping that you and I can agree that if any of us are ready for any kind of intimacy with someone else, and really want that, then we should able to be as much of an active partner as we also want them to be. Our sexual relationships should, ideally, have a pretty good balance so that whether we're talking about kissing or oral sex, both partners initiate with about the same frequency: initiating isn't something that any one person is or feels responsible for doing.
It might also be that he doesn't feel ready yet, or isn't sure if you are and doesn't want to overstep your boundaries. Not everyone has the same pace when it comes to kissing or anything else, and sometimes it isn't always easy to tell if it's right to kiss someone or if that's what they want. Additionally, you mention you were friends for a long time before. Navigating that shift from friend to boyfriend/girlfriend can be tricky and feel precarious, and we can worry about lousing things up and losing a friend if we overstep. In other words, there are a lot of different reasons why he might not have kissed you yet, and they might be the same reasons you haven't kissed him yourself.
So. You say YOU want to be kissed, and want to know how to get HIM to kiss YOU. But kissing is something two people do together, so when you want to kiss someone, if you have the idea that's something they'd be receptive to, what you do is to kiss them.
You do that by either asking if it's okay to kiss him first, or by trying to pay attention to times when kissing seems like the right thing, and he seems like he'd be receptive. If you slowly lean in and he then leans in, too, you can be pretty darn sure he wants to be kissed. Once you start kissing someone, if they want to be kissing, they'll kiss right back and you'll both take it from there pretty naturally. And if he wanted to kiss, too, after you break the ice that first time, he may get a lot more comfortable initiating a kiss himself. If they don't want to be kissed, they'll move away and/or decline a kiss verbally. Kissing is one of those things where, unless we are holding someone down to do it or being otherwise forceful or aggressive (which is a different thing than being assertive), we really don't have to worry much about a single attempt at a kiss doing someone harm.
It's okay to be nervous about kissing someone for the first time. Your boyfriend may not have kissed you for exactly the same reason: he's probably nervous, too. In other words, that may be something you have in common. That's okay. A certain amount of nervous energy gives up that extra dose of butterflies in our tummies that can make a kiss feel even more intense. If you feel so nervous you're just quaking in your boots, then you might also consider just talking about this first. Saying, "Hey, I really want to kiss you, but I feel so nervous and unsure if that's something you want, too, that I'm flat-out terrified to do it." If you both feel that way, one of you voicing it lets you both get a good look at the elephant in the room and makes it seem a lot less scary.
It's also okay to make an ass out of yourself, and to take risks that don't harm anyone else, but where you may not get the results you want. At some point in your life, now or later, you may well go to kiss someone who declines: who doesn't want you to kiss them. That's a bummer, and feeling rejected bites the big one, but you'll live through it. We all do. In many, many areas of your life you'll probably experience rejection. As a writer, I know I had a few years where I literally got rejection delivered to me by post every week, sometimes even every day. Those were hardly my best days ever, for sure, but you just learn after a while not to take it too personally and to know that if we're going to take risks of positive outcomes, we have to also risk the negative outcomes. Sometimes, when we just develop some confidence in the fact that we WILL survive rejection it's a lot less scary to risk it.
Okay? You like this guy, you want to kiss this guy. So, you can either pucker up and try and kiss him and see how that goes, or you can ask him in advance or talk about it and see how that goes. But sitting around waiting for the proverbial phone to ring so that someone can maybe, eventually, be the one to give you want you want isn't a good recipe for being the driver of your own life and getting the things that you want.